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Dick, Prick, Calamanca, Jack, Little Tom

Date: Assumed 1978, drawing dated 1970

Artwork Lost

Dick Prick Calamanca Jack Little Tom - George Mainwaring – Rochdale Artist

George's Notes

One very popular game which I haven’t seen for many years was that in which seven or eight boys, divided into two ‘sides’ took part. After a toss-up, the losing side got down one behind the other and made a row of backs, with one boy standing at the head to steady them and see fair play. The other boys then ran forward after their leader, one by one, and jumped on the others’ backs. When all the jumpers were astride, the leader held up one of his fingers and called out “Dick, Prick, Calamanca, Jack, Little Tom”. Dick, of course, meaning his thumb, and the others in order to his little finger, Little Tom. The leader of the stooping boys had to guess which finger was held up. Failure to guess the right one meant another jump for the others and if, after several attempts, this had not been successful, the leader of the jumpers would restrict his choice to three, or even two fingers, calling out “Dick, Jack, Tom”, or “Calamanca, Tom”, as the case may be. After a correct guess, the sides changed places.

Other variations of the game were “Foot and Over”, “Slimming” and “Cappy” which was played around Rochdale – there must be countless others in various parts of the country. I never knew why we called the middle finger “Calamanca”. This is a word of doubtful origin and is the name given to a type of coarse glossy woollen cloth.

George Mainwaring

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